Job Search Rules You Can Break

So much rides on a job search that people believe that following strict and rigid rules will produce results. While, yes, doing things the right way is a smart approach you have to stop and think if some of these rules may be outdated in the current job market. Job advice is useless if it pertains to another place and economic climate. 

We live in a digital world now where the doors to communication are vast and wide open. The rules have changed and some from that are now irrelevant to the 21st century job seeker. For your best chances of making it in today’s job market you need to be on the same playing field as the times.

Don’t worry about having to completely change up your entire strategy or fret that you’ve been doing it wrong the whole time. Change is a gradual process so as long as you’re with the program, just worry about here on out rather than making up for past decisions. These are some of the rule changes to jot down in your mental notebook:

1) Sound like a person.
Up until recently, we were taught to sound as smart as possible by using big words and long-winded language. Basically, the way no one talks in real life. The result? Someone on paper who knew how to do as they were taught and regurgitate unnatural speech. The problem with that is that you don’t get an accurate portrayal of the person behind the text. You get a carbon copy of other people trying to sound as intelligent as possible without an inclination of a personality. BORING.

Today, online social media has taken off and become integrated in nearly all aspects of people’s lives – including employment opportunities. Networking is great resource when looking for work because it emphasizes human connections and building relationships. The bar has been raised to a point where finding the right person for the job requires more than being able to do the job. It’s also about fitting in with the company and having the right attitude. The first way they look for this is through your resume. If a hiring manager can’t see who you are in your resume, they’re not going to see you at all.

2) Don’t sell yourself short at one page.
A nice & consolidated one page resume is a great way to start but two pages is perfectly fine too. It would be best not to exceed two pages – more than two and you’re bound to get an eye roll, but most people nowadays need more than one. You want to be as detailed as possible and it can be hard to fully and accurately explain your experience in the little real estate one page gives you. Go ahead and take that much needed sheet.

3) Forget the objective, sort of.
You say it any way you want, but when it comes down to it your ultimate objective is to land a job. You know it, the hiring managers knows it, but quite frankly they don’t really care. What they do care about is how you fit in with their objectives. If you have a generic objective it can actually do more harm to your chances. It’s a red flag that you’re not actually concerned with working for a particular company but just wanting to be hired by anyone. There’s nothing wrong with that but use discretion. Show that you put some thought and effort into your resume submission. Hiring managers want to see that you are genuinely interested in working for their company, not just thinking about your own interests.

4) Say what matters first.
Whether it’s your work experience or your educational background, put the most relevant and advantageous information first. Even if you went to a prestigious school, if the position you’re applying for has more to do with your role at a non-profit then by all means put that higher up on your resume. Give priority to the most crucial information on the chance that the hiring manager isn’t thoroughly going through resumes. You might only have their attention for just a few seconds, make them worthwhile.

5) Remove mention of your references.
Saying that your references are “available upon request” is unnecessary because hiring managers will expect you to have them available if they ask for them. It’s like the one-page rule, it’s not really relevant anymore.

6) Arrive on time.
Getting to an interview too early looks bad. Why? Because you put the interviewer in a slightly awkward position. Give yourself a buffer of just about 5-10 minutes. If you have more time than that, find some way to kill it before walking in to the building. Interviewers will feel obligated to stop what they’re doing and greet you and they may not be comfortable having you wait in the reception area too long. 

The best thing to do in any case is use your best judgment. Do a little research on the company and get a feel for what their culture is like. Use what you learned as the basis for your approach. Remember that all companies are different so your strategies should cater to each of those company’s needs. Companies are looking for someone that will be the right fit for their company, and you should be doing the same for yourself.